Here in India, and, by extension, perhaps in many other regions of the world, we’re not exposed to a decent variety of TV shows from the UK, as opposed to from the US – Australia and Canada are next in frequency of being featured. Europe, in general, is denied a fair representation and the case is worse with the remaining continents. There are broad regional preferences, of course. Each nation will tend to favour itself and immediate neighbours besides the US/Australia/Canada. Thus, Malaysia had a greater selection from China, Japan and Korea not to mention others. Truth to tell, much more regional variety than is to be found in India.
In my TV viewing years, I recall some comedies such as Fawlty Towers from the UK but not much else and I’m pretty certain there has not been an increase in the years since I forsook TV. Frankly, for Indians, though we have a large number of people who claim to be ‘native’ speakers, “my good self” included, it is harder to comprehend the ‘Queen’s’ English than it is to make head or tail of a US accent. Subtitles are as much in order as would be the case for a Japanese TV show in India. And yet Endeavour will not need to strive to engross. It’s that good.
For the anglophile, out of the closet or not, Endeavour will be a delicacy. It is, indeed, a gourmet treat with its tendency to be laced liberally with literary and other rich cultural references. While the visuals enchant the eye and frequently bring classical painters to mind, besides Morse’s own love for opera, the music of such as Wagner not only graces the audio track but forms an integral part of some plots.
While I definitely hope to make my readers watch it and get hooked, it’s also my pleasure to provide die-hard fans, like myself, resources to fan the fandom flame.
With each post about each series, the endeavour will be to offer the best fan sites and, perhaps, glimpses into their individual focuses. Today, it’s a list of things about Endeavour that are
Good to Know
- It’s always Thursday on Endeavour. Actor Roger Allam, Inspector Thursday, is one of the main characters in the Endeavour series. Initially, he’s the only one who appears to appreciate Morse’s talents – a quick reminder that Morse’s first name is Endeavour. For more such fascinating detail, visit Allam’s Inspector Morse Fact File.
Thursday has a wife, daughter and son and his family life forms a good deal of the regular drama on most episodes.
More importantly, the actor has a wonderful page of episode summaries on his site.
2. The author of the Morse novels almost always appears in the shows, Hitchcock style.
Colin Dexter makes his appearance at 42 minutes and 40 seconds in the dining hall.
3. The daughter of the actor who plays Morse in the original series is a staple on Endeavour.
Played by John Thaw’s daughter Abigail, the character’s name of ‘D. Frazil’ is actually a bit of a crossword clue of the type Morse was very fond of. Frazil is a type of ice, so “de-ice” is to Thaw.
Those were some of the regular features. Now for the fun part!
Series 1 – Trailers
Girl: Episode 1. Directed by Edward Bazalgette and written by Russell Lewis
While everyone in Oxford appears to be dolling up for a night out, Endeavour is preparing to settle in with his copy of Moriarty’s Police Law. This book is a real thing—“An Arrangement of Law and Regulations for the Use of Police Officers”—that a young officer would have studied to pass his exam for promotion. That it’s called Moriarty’s is just a happy coincidence considering that Endeavour Morse will do the full Sherlock about 23 minutes into the episode…
But first, a corpse:
Margaret Bell, age 20, is found dead of an apparent heart attack. Seeing Margaret fit and fine just a few moments earlier, we have no reason to believe a heart attack was her actual cause of death, and her G.P. confirms as much shortly after. She did have a weak heart, but if she’d been taking her medication she shouldn’t have suffered a heart attack. The doctor has questions, and now so does Morse.
Fugue: Episode 2. Directed by Tom Vaughan and written by Russell Lewis
… of course it is focused on music. Morse and music go together better than bacon and eggs. The episode opens with choral singers, specifically Morse, who has been spotted by the local newspaper as he leaves a concert he performed in.
As ever, we settle back into the pattern of seeing all of the puzzle pieces in the opening interspersed with the credits. Pieces, players, games. This plot rotates completely around Morse but the mystery beneath it all is fascinating without that. A serial killer is working his way through Oxford using the deaths in operas as a means of killing his victims. The killer leaves clues for Morse, taunting him, and eventually stabbing him as he leads Morse a merry chase. Meanwhile there is a traitor in the camp and every one we see seems to be tied back to a musical theme.
Endeavour S01 E02 ‘Fugue’: Review, Music, Art, Literary References, Locations etc. pampers you with spoilers – no true fan is immune to such blandishments.
With a name like Fugue, how can reviews not rave about the music?
Before we get to Barrington Pheloung’s spine tingling theme tune at the end, this week’s episode served up an impressive body count, more than a liberal sprinkling of Oxford’s dreaming spires and another intricate and compelling storyline. As if to punctuate the point further even the climax is fittingly set among these very spires. The plot is driven by a medley of soprano duets, arias and sonatas which proves a mesmerising cocktail.
archiveofourown.org has a tongue-in-cheek go at the episode. Quite entertaining even if you’re yet to watch the story.
Locales, we have mentioned in a previous post, are one of the many charms of Endeavour – you seriously want to buy a ticket to the UK after catching an Endeavour or two. As you see below, someone has beaten me to it!
I’ve compiled the various answers I received here for anyone else who might be interested in doing their own mini-Endeavour locations tour:
1) Magdalen College, bridge over to Addison’s Walk
2) Radcliffe Square or St Mary’s Passage by the Radcliffe Camera (possibly the same place!)
3) Queen’s Lane, by the back gate of New College
4) Possibly the side of Jesus College, opposite one of the exits to the Covered Market
5) Roof of Trinity College chapel
6) Broad Street or Turn off High St down King Edward St, this is between Christchurch & Oriel College (again, possibly the same place)
7) Merton College
8) Merton St, outside Merton College or Logic Street
Rocket: Episode 3. Directed by Craig Viveiros and written by Russell Lewis
This might be my personal favourite of the series.
the Queen is visiting a local missile factory, to aid relations with the Arabs, who are thought to want to place an order for 36 weapons. It’s a suitably grand occasion and the bunting’s out for HRH. The rest of the staff are assigned to oversee her safety, but Morse is left on general duties once more. This week that means making sure the crowds stay in order as all the ‘wooden’ police are busy at the factory. Jakes’ condescending manner is heightened again, and the way he talks down to Morse really makes it seem like Russell Lewis is setting him up for one hell of a fall in the final story of this series.
A few hours after the Queen has left, just as Bright is congratulating himself on a successful operation, Morse receives notification that a body’s been found.
… Craig Viveiros’ beautiful direction makes everything feel like it was shot on location; it’s gorgeous.
Home: Episode 4 – Directed by Colm McCarthy and written by Russell Lewis
The series winds up with an episode that delivers quick punches. Thursday is up against powerful old foes. His daughter, June, and we know that Endeavour suffers from unrequited love for her, is giving the Inspector more heartburn than could any of the famously unappetising sandwiches his wife makes him. We get a peek at Morse’s family.
In this episode the viewer discovers why Morse has a limp in later life. A storyline from the young Endeavour Morse to coincide with the real-life injury sustained by John Thaw and thus a physical element that Thaw brought to the character of Inspector Morse.
At the very start of the episode we hear Faure’s Requiem: VII In Paradisum. This piece is of course very significant in the world of Morse as the same piece of music was playing when Morse collapsed to the ground with a heart attack in the episode, ‘The Remorseful Day’.
The site is rich in detail, has photos and plenty of spicy trivia.
And with that we bid the series farewell, moving on, soon, to the second series of Endeavour while I eagerly await news of the upcoming sixth series.